Eartheater RIP Chrysalis

[Hausu Mountain; 2015]

Rating: 4/5

Styles: e-molt-ion, (freak) (folk)
Others: Jenny Hval, Joanna Newsom, Sleep ∞ Over

“There’s a first time for everything, or more like everything is the first time.”

This is my first time reviewing Alexandra Drewchin’s solo word- and world-play as Eartheater, whose cable- and string-tangled work plies the make believe becoming of identity. Her latest RIP Chrysalis emerges after February’s Metalepsis, companions summoning synchronicity and symmetry out of their sonic chaosmos. The two comprise bookending 2015 releases on Hausu Mountain (disclosure: TMT’s Mukqs co-runs the label). Where Metalepsis orbited in the interstices of inner and outer earspace, flickering in the deeps of un/consciousness, RIP Chrysalis feels more earthbound, fleshier, a-live, flexible.

The album’s fascination with transformation unfolds in a mutating sticky drama, the skins of songs bursting with the possibilities of their inner worlds, growing and meshing out of each other. Even at its most droning and hypnotic, RIP Chrysalis is dripping with imagination: its moments sound like the first time. In a mere/mesmerizing 80 seconds, “Ecdysisyphus” phases from an anthemic drum fill before quieting into chant chorus. A ritual bell strikes silence, a violin stirs to life. Or an 808 bass drum om coming out of babbling keys, violin swells meeting alien falsetto. Alive in its constant decomposition/recomposition.

Ecdysis is a shaky thing, especially in time-lapse, but the movements ooze into a blur or a rhythm. Drewchin’s self-un-narratives and eulogies to shed skin mush and molt into rippling infinities, the utterfly effect of dead leaves landing on a reflecting pool with see-monsters humming Hvalian iDensity in the deep. Breathes in the repetitive reimagining of awaking “someone different every day,” her voice in control/flux.

“I like to pretend that I’m everybody else/ When I make believe/ And I look into your eyes/ I see everybody”

Instrumental paradises shapeshift in place on RIP Chrysalis: the peaking waves through “Mark Therapy,” the fluttering coda of “Herstory of Platypus,” the mid-song liftoff on “Humyn Hymn,” the Grouper-dissolution of “If it in yin” (“Infinity” from Metalepsis making its rev-rev-revolution, pausing in eclipse).

She mines the mind’s eye entity for sounds we’ve already yet to see and waters whatever in words can be meant to be. Into the affinity waste basket a loop cornucopiasis, fruit flies buzzing like strings, yawning and stirring against pre-recognition. If anything, the medium carries noise from shedding skin to spreading wings, molted down into the fertile ground where the decomposition will never complete, but waver and surge and wear itself out again, the mutant mask of identity.

RIP Chrysalis feeds a spiritual gaze into the repetitive spooky action of perfomativity within planetary entanglement. The in/organic attempt at self-disclosure, identity formation as mediated by the web of surveillance (facial recognition) and universalizing impulses (myself as everybody else) caught up in the cloudy opacity of living in a metamorphing world. So: rest in piece, chrysalis — we hardly new-you.

“Identity crisis/ It doesn’t have to be so bad”

Links: Eartheater - Hausu Mountain

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